Snuffing Out the Old World That is Dying to Hatch a New One Via Public Policy

Building on the last post’s explanation of the importance of targeting people’s internalized mental maps to effect external change, let me cite this recent article https://www.alliancemagazine.org/feature/systems-change-and-philanthropy/ on how crucial it is for foundations to support “reframing the narratives people hold” because of the necessity that people be “mirroring internally what is sought externally.” Did you also know that the National Science Foundation is pushing something it calls CHANS–Coupled Human and Natural Systems–research as part of its Social and Behavioral Science work currently? That research wants to model and control human decision-making, just like UNESCO as we saw in a 2018 post on creating desired Anticipatory Assumptions that the Rockefeller Foundation was funding. It turns out that “fuzzy concept maps (FCM) are potentially very useful in modeling human decisions and behavior in CHANS.”

So the NSF and UNESCO want to target what is internalized to control decision-making and say so. No one who looks at their work and funding would disagree that it aims at a transformative vision to a human well-being centric future. Let’s skip over to Classical Ed or religiously oriented schools, since they are often asserted as the alternative to the Godless and Progressive public schools. https://members.classicalconversations.com/article/book-review-norms-nobility makes it clear that education is all about the “person education should produce (norms) and the way this person should act (nobility)… education [is] preparation for virtuous thought and action,” but the instilled virtues that guide who the person is, what he values, how he perceives, and what motivates him to act are not up to the individual. The community supposedly decides what will be instilled and practiced until it is an unconscious habit.

My point is that there is a convergence in the vision for education in the 21st century between Left and Right that is rarely being shared accurately with the public. If something called Agile Governance globally is all about controlling each individual’s knowledge and beliefs in order to aid declared public policy goals and we have “State Capability, Policymaking and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Do Knowledge Systems Matter?” laying out the need to “change the nature and meaning of knowledge production and use in policy decisions” using think tanks across the globe, all of a sudden we have the best explanation yet of why there has been so much deceit and False Narrative coordination coming out of think tanks when it comes to what is really going on in education.

If we envision think tanks in the 21st century as both the executioners of the old vision via their White Papers or testimony that create a certain perception of what is currently wrong, and the midwives guiding the birth of a new vision, things start to make far more sense. Then aspirationally quoting Antonio Gramsci, without pointing out he wrote from prison in the 1920s for being an admitted Communist, and noting he “has described a situation like this as a ‘solstice’ and an ‘interregnum,’ where the ‘old world is dying, [but] the new one has not yet been born'” fits the Midwife role. It also turns out there is something else at U-Penn beyond AISP, Positive Neuroscience, prospective psychology, and the other transformative social systems research we keep encountering. It is called the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) and it publishes a Global Go To Think Tank Index Report on the “role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world.”

Sure enough, we find so many of the think tanks that pretend to be ‘conservative’ while misrepresenting competency-based education, social and emotional learning, data initiatives, or deceiving readers about what Marxism is being celebrated by the Index for their effectiveness as think tanks or having one of the Best Advocacy Campaigns of 2018. If the new purpose of education globally is to create a planned citizen with the characteristics of altruism and motivations governments and connected corporations desire, it makes sense to be targeting what they clearly are:

all aspects of what it means to be human: feelings, intuition, connection to others and the cosmos, as well as the more familiar ground of the mind and intellect. Whole Person Learning is intimately linked with how the individual sees themselves and, supremely, how they view others.

That is what has now become a matter of ‘public policy’ to change. That’s what it means to declare that in the 21st Century Knowledge and Education are “global public goods” and that think tanks are to act as the “intermediaries” between legislators and bureaucrats and ‘advocates’. Anyone motivated to act must be guided in what they believe and value. In this new paradigm for education grounded in public policy:

Instead of focusing on the improvement of students, Education must start focusing on the improvement of the world, enabling each individual to be an active part of that process…Indeed, learning is not the ultimate goal of Education, seeing that individuals learn in order to attain/create useful, desired goals. Specially in a time of relentless possibilities created by technology, which creates the scenario for people to learn, work, and exist in a close yet heterogeneous network, individuals may now be empowered to learn and attain great goals with local/national/world impact.

That would certainly explain the convergence of visions around controlling what a student’s Identity is and what they value, believe, and what principles motivate them to act. How many people appreciate that these skills of active participation in a project of transformation in the human and natural worlds is what it means to be a Critical Thinker in the 21st Century?

Sure enough, if students are being educated to become critical thinkers, it is aimed at serving a higher purpose still: that these individuals become equipped to devolve into active, participatory agents in the world–of work, surely, but also of their surrounding (and our global) community. This is possible since critical thinkers are prone to approaching common public challenges with a hands on conduct ignited by an ethical and committed attitude.

That vision of education creates the needed ‘citizens’ to fit with a global vision for the 21st Century that “with effective multi-stakeholder cooperation…the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to address–and possibly solve–the major challenges that the world currently faces.” What is necessary to this vision of the future? –“a population that can think critically and in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary ways.” Precisely what the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross-Cutting Concepts and Topics of those instilled Fuzzy Cognitive Maps are creating. No wonder US federal law requires Higher Order Thinking Skills to be assessed annually on at least 95% of each state’s students. It’s a necessary component of this global transformative vision of what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century where Knowledge Systems must evolve so that “Governments have the opportunity to design policies to prepare the knowledge systems of the future to make better decisions for the wellbeing of all.

I bolded that last part because it is what Uncle Karl called his Human Development Society vision where little ‘c’ communism would be enabled by a certain level of technology. It is also called Marxist Humanism, which I have documented is another area where certain colleges, publications, and think tanks have made a concerted effort to mislead. Few can recognize what no one has accurately explained to us, Plus, creating False Narratives to guide human decision-making apparently gets a think tank recognized as Effective. That State Capability paper tells us that “Both citizen and professional knowledge are important to successful implementation [of the 4IR/Human Development/Wellbeing of All vision]; ignoring them weakens the potential for success.”

Well, neither is being ignored, but the targeting of both is not being accurately explained either except here at ISC. Going back to all the misinformation out there now from think tanks makes it clear that the disinformation is being manufactured in what appears to be a coordinated manner in order to “influence or change the system’s purpose, which is the level of intervention capable of instituting the most profound change in the system.” Student-centered, personalized learning that is brain-based and evidence-centered sounds so much better than that long quote and works the same way, doesn’t it? No need to get parents all upset by referring to students as ‘systems’ that need a new form of Governance at an internalized level in order to get the desired transformation in the external, material world.

Do you remember my research on the Global Education Futures Forum and GEFF’s ties to the World Economic Forum? GEFF’s true focus makes more sense when we are familiar with the January 2018 White Paper “Agile Governance: Reimagining Policymaking in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The need to transform education globally goes hand in hand with a need for “positioning values that promote societal benefit and well-being as priorities for governance.” And what precisely does governance now mean if that’s the new vision of education in the 4IR?

In its simplest form, governance refers to making decisions and exercising authority to guide the behavior of individuals and organizations…The concept of agile governance aims to shift the manner in which policies are generated, deliberated, enacted and enforced in the [4IR]…to enable policy-making that is more inclusive and ‘human-centred’ by involving more stakeholders in the process and allowing for rapid iteration to meet the needs of the governed.

References to the Governed are straight out of a 1971 Soviet book called The Scientific Management of Society that I covered back in 2016 when I introduced my readers to the term they used for such comprehensive management at the level of the mind and personality–Upravleniye. Hello again old friend with a new name and sales pitch.

No wonder that WEF White Paper pitches what looks like what governments in the West are now calling evidence-based policymaking (while certain think tanks mislead about its true nature) where:

The combination of systems and design thinking provides an iterative and cumulative learning process by exploring a complex and fast-moving ecosystem, sensemaking [using FCMs?] of observed variables, and shaping of possible outcomes, while analysing the influence of those outcomes on the status quo…Adopting system and design-thinking approaches fosters a shift from planning and controlling to piloting and implementing policies to get rapid feedback and iteration…Feedback loops allow policies to be evaluated against the backdrop to determine if they are still meeting citizens’ values and needs.

Those would be the deliberately instilled values and needs created by a new singular vision of education in play under the Common Core in public schools in the US and in charter language or school mission statements for those parents opting for School Choice. The deceit makes more sense now, as well as the very term–School Choice–in a vision of education designed to get at the internalized basis for human decision-making as an invisible lever for social control.

All this to enable, without scrutiny or effective challenge, a vision of the 21st Century where think tanks and governments get to specify “the outcomes we should be striving for as a collective endeavour.”

No wonder all these visions push the community as the determining source of what the individual must now be.

Jumping from the Skillet into the Fire by Misunderstanding the True Common Core

Last week there was a great deal of coverage by many of the same sites that have no interest in truthfully describing competency-based education, the purpose of student data collection, what Outcomes  Based Education is really about, or how learning standards really work hyping Governor DeSantis’ decision to take Florida from the Common Core. I read the articles in between my real life appointments these days and continue to see an alarming pattern of deceit. Let’s talk a bit about what the seemingly well-intentioned governor should know apart from his need to quickly read Credentialed to Destroy cover to cover. First, if the new goals for what the students in Florida are to Know and be Able to Do are still aligned to CEDS–the Common Education Data Standards, then Florida remains tied to the Common Core. It simply misunderstands its true nature.

Since Florida, like Texas, was one of the early states that transitioned to outcomes-based education several decades ago it is hard to see it going backwards into a true traditional content emphasis. My second word to the wise in any state or other countries is that if the teacher is using direct instruction to teach DCIs–Disciplinary Core Ideas– that then serve as ‘lenses’ for how to perceive the world, interpret experiences, and evaluate contexts, that explicit instruction is NOT, in fact, traditional subject-matter instruction. Don’t be fooled by some Type 1 vs Type 2 metaphor that also insists that Constructivism is about Discovery Learning. Let me quote an absolute authority on the subject, UNESCO, which stated that the Lev Vygotsky Learning and Development approach to create a new internalized basis for viewing the world is:

“the revolutionary approach to these issues pioneered by Vygotsky has linked these two processes together in a way that was never before considered. According to Vygotsky, some of the developmental outcomes and processes that were typically thought of as occurring ‘naturally’ or ‘spontaneously’ were, in fact, substantially influenced by children’s own learning or ‘constructed’. Learning, in turn, was shaped by the social-historical context in which it took place. This dual emphasis–on children’s active engagement in their own mental development and on the role of the social context–determined the name used to describe the Vygotskyian approach in the West–‘social constructivism.'”

So so-called Type 1 direct instruction can be used to instill what John Hattie called ‘visible learning’ that is designed to implement this Vygotskyian approach to get at the desired Constructs, Principles, and Concepts that guide a student’s thinking going forward. I bolded a few terms in that quote so we could specifically address them so we can each avoid this desired individual, ‘personalized’, fire that is to promote collective transformation at an internal, neurological level. Did you know that back in April 2018 the Council of Europe formally adopted “Competences for Democratic Culture: living together as equals in culturally diverse democratic societies.” It created a CDC framework on “how we nurture a set of common values around which to organise,’ which could usefully be nicknamed a ‘common core’. The framework creates 3 sets of values, 6 attitudes, 8 skills, and 3 bodies of knowledge and critical understanding that all students must now be able to demonstrate.

So if what Florida implements instead fits with what that CDC Framework lays out as its concept of ‘competence’, then Florida still has a common core and it’s a global, transformative template.

“Democratic and intercultural competence is defined as the ability to mobilise and deploy relevant values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and/or understanding in order to respond appropriately and effectively to the demands, challenges and opportunities that are presented by democratic and intercultural situations [aka social contexts]. Competence is treated as a dynamic process in which a competent individual mobilises and deploys clusters of psychological resources in an active and adaptive manner in order to respond to new circumstances as these arise.”

Pretty sure that active and adaptive manner for a given social context in that last sentence is what we in the West now call a Growth Mindset, which makes sense since Carol Dweck was a Vygotsky scholar before she came up with that particular euphonious euphemism for his Soviet theories. Anyway, we need Governor DeSantis and his advisors to appreciate something else I picked up from a 2017 presentation on the CDC Framework in Moscow, Russia where the slide laid out what it called Descriptors that ties in with what I know about how the referenced CEDS mentioned above or UNESCO’s standards actually work globally. There are Sets of Descriptors for each competence specified by the model. “A descriptor is a statement or description of what a person is able to do if they have mastered a particular competence, These descriptors have been formulated using the language of learning outcomes, and they were validated through a survey that involved over 1,200 teachers who were drawn from across Europe.”  The slide goes on to note that there are Descriptors for the various levels of education (e.g.- preschool, primary, secondary, higher) and to proficiency levels (e.g.- basic, intermediate, advanced).

So if Florida is going to use some type of Descriptors for the Desired Outcomes of the type we see in Learner Profiles and Portrait of a Graduate that we see public and private schools using all over this nation now, then we still have a common core being instilled. It still has the purpose mentioned in a different slide where the answer to “What Kind of Education do we need?” is answered by another question–“What kind of society do we want to live in?” That DeSantis is guided by the latter suggestion is indicated by his stated desire for civics instruction to be emphasized. Want to know who else wants to emphasize civics instruction? Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe that published that CDC Framework. In a 2015 speech to the UN that is quoted in another one of those Moscow slides, he said: “While most states have some form of civic education, we don’t–as standard practice–teach our children what it means–explicitly–to be a democratic citizen.”

If you remember, I quoted a Howard Gardner book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, Reframed in the last post. His vision of an instilled set of virtues that would guide each of us as we “navigate the shoals of work and citizenship in a highly complex and interconnected world” is all about the “need to evolve models of citizenship that can be embraced by the diverse populations of the world.” Just like that CDC Framework. Just like a Yuval Levin quote from the promotion for a February 12, 2019 Hoover/ Fordham Speaker Series where “he will make the case for reasserting the role of education in character formation…conservatives should reassert education’s vital role in molding the souls of rising citizens, not just future workers. While many institutions–family, religion and civic life–are under stress, schools remain an essential pillar of American life. Civic and character education deserve a place of honor alongside more utilitarian considerations.”

Is Yuval Levin’s vision one of those Governor DeSantis is listening to in promoting his civic instruction for Florida schools? If so, we still have a common core being instilled of the same kind Vygotsky had in mind years ago and what the CDC framework promotes now. The Governor also made a statement about moving away from ‘standardized assessments,’ which suggested to me someone is shifting him towards the Learner-centered, Transformative-based, Context-oriented vision laid out last week here https://education-reimagined.org/how-to-shift-from-education-as-content-to-education-as-context/ that fits with all the quotes I have used in this post so far. That author from Iowa BIG uses the term Universal Constructs to mean what is laid out in the CDC Framework. If someone is providing and reenforcing something akin to these Universal Constructs tied to something like CEDS and its Descriptors, then we still have a common core, instilled character and citizenship, vision.

Reading, math, and science are no longer valued as a body of knowledge useful for its own sake and an individual’s own purposes. Let me close with a quote to illustrate the difference and hope that February will not throw up as many personal roadblocks to my writing as January did.

“inside contextually-rich environments and experiences, we are able to help students ‘see’ the knowledge and skills required for diverse contexts and to learn and practice them in unique contexts. Being competent at the Universal Constructs enables a person to effectively navigate and succeed across a myriad of ever-changing contexts. My staff and I cannot know what any of our learners will ‘need to know’ in terms of content or standards in the future. What we can do is ensure our learners are effective at reading context and having the skill set to know how to access and use the content and concepts necessary for their success in that environment.”

I boldfaced all the euphemisms used to obscure the intentional creation of a common core that will purposely guide future decision-making and motivations to act. If there is still any doubt how deliberate, transformative, and global this all is let me close with a link a 2018 Update to IB’s Primary Years Programme called Action. https://drive.google.com/file/d/166FvIsUHIBKEYASa6MWd9Hn1MdLmEFC2/view Notice all the references in it to Learner Profile Attributes. That would be another name for Descriptors. Connecting action and the learner profile tells us that “Through developing attributes of the learner profile, students grow in their ability to make informed, reasoned, ethical judgments and to exercise the flexibility, perseverance and confidence they need to bring about positive change in the community and beyond.”

Those students have an instilled common core at the level of their mind and personality designed so that they act and are motivated to act in a certain way that is designed to ultimately transform how both American society and the world function in the future. It could not be more centrally planned, but because the planned implementation is local and neurological, it can be hard to see. All the deceit surrounding the Common Core simply made that harder.

But as my writing continues to demonstrate, difficult does not mean impossible once we discern the true actual template and need for a common core. It’s essential to all these plans for transformative change without effective opposition.

And there is nothing Conservative about deceit to effect intentional social, political, and economic transformations using education. It reminds me of something one of the Integral Theorists wrote where he said the admitted Progressives could focus on transforming the external, material world, while declared ‘Conservatives’ could maneuver to transform the internal rudders guiding personal behavior.

That really does describe what is going on and why I see such a Convergence behind the scenes. Let’s talk about that next.

Systematizing Human Nature Via Internalized Marxian Standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Welcome to 2019 as we continue to watch where all the education reforms converge under a variety of names and rationales. We get to watch where various narratives that appear coordinated misinform and whether we can draw a useful picture of omission that we are supposed to be unaware of, while we lobby in outrage for remedies that simply make the neural enslavement worse. Time for some specifics then that I kept track of amidst the wrapping, cooking, and decorating that dominated last month’s activities. A 2003 book by Georgetown law professor Robin West called Re-imagining Justice: Progressive Interpretations of Formal Equality, Rights, and the Rule of Law is being brought back into print later this month so let’s look at what it sought to make operational and how it pertains to education. West explained in her conclusion that:

the idea that subjecting human behavior to governance by rule is, all things, considered, a morally good thing to do–is gaining adherents, worldwide, as the force of positive, international law extends its reach around the globe, and domestic law, both here and elsewhere, deepens and broadens its penetration into social life…law is gaining momentum as the preferred vehicle for control of social relations between nations, entities, or individuals.

Professor West then cited the ubiquitous Positive School Climate mandates as an example of how “the schoolyard playground, once a sphere of insulated political sovereignty dominated, Lord of the Flies style, by bullies, has been tamed by the intrusion of positive law.” Now, I am not as optimistic as Professor West on the ability of new rules, learning standards, and Graduate Profiles to remake human nature, but there is no question whatsoever that the schools intend to try and do just that. Nor is there any question that this admitted Progressive desire to remake human nature, with frank admissions like “the goodness of law lies in its paternalistic capacity” or “subjection of human behavior to the governance of rules, at times, better promotes human wellbeing than does the sovereignty of choice” also hides behind banners about School Choice, Classical Education, Conservatism, Founding Principles, holistic education, and learner agency.

It can even be found, most alarmingly, as Chapter 1–“Character Development and a Culture of Connectedness” of the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety released December 18, 2018. It’s no secret I believe that there is a correlation in both timing and locations between the push to use schools to neurally install a new code of ethics and morality to drive a cultural evolution, and school shootings, where the shooter clearly sought mass murder on the school grounds. It is horrific therefore to follow the cited materials in the Chapter 1 bibliography to people who make no pretense of wanting to turn the human mind and emotions into a system that can be manipulated for purposes of political transformation. I guess that’s what we get for a federal Ed Department staffed with Jeb Bush lackeys.

If the federal Commission cited this paper called “Towards a Science of Character Education” https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/e9b8fc57/files/uploaded/berkowitz_bier_mccauley_jce_2017.pdf , which they did, then all the aims of what is in its bibliography come in as well. I have read many of those books and articles over the years. I know where all this is going. I know precisely what Professor West means by using the law as a positive force to remake social relations and that is exactly what that Federal Commission intends to have done, at a local level, to be binding on people and places and easier to monitor. Insisting that the answer to school shootings is to use the PRIMED character education program so that schools can “help youth internalize ethical and performance values. Effective programs focus on integrating activities that promote self-growth, such as personal goal setting” is to make schools the vehicles for the Marxian moral revolution at a subjective level that both Uncle Karl, and his acolyte John Dewey, said would be necessary for the desired transformation.

See what I mean about how the remedies touted actually bring in more of the poisons that created these problems in the first place? Professor West and other admitted progressives would like nothing more than to make school about character development as “key to a successful society.” They are all on board with the transformative potential at an individual and collective level of “intentional efforts to foster both the academic advancement and the moral, ethical, and social-emotional development of students.” Communitarians of every creed and political party love the idea of school being centered around “the promotion of core ethical values such as fairness, respect, and personal responsibility can create a caring community that fosters students’ self-motivation and positive interactions.”

The idea that the Commission pitched “practices to help students develop a growth mindset” as a solution to school shootings when its creator, Carol Dweck, was originally a Vygotsky scholar seeking to implement his theories on using new classroom practices to create the transformed mindset needed for a new kind of Soviet Man, would be funny in an ironic way if it was not so ridiculously ignorant of these practices. Tragedies like Parkland and the rule of law get used to force poisonous collectivist ideas down this nation’s throats and into our children’s minds and hearts. https://www.learningandthebrain.com/blog/we-can-no-longer-ignore-evidence-about-human-development/ from November 29, 2018 from Professor Immordino-Yang involved in both the US and UNESCO’s neural redevelopment efforts via education is at least honest about the intentions to use new practices to”support the development of our full humanity.”

Do you believe the purpose of education is for students “to question and rethink their ideals, to build their deep desire for inventing themselves“? If not, wouldn’t you want to know if the remedy of a new kind of education to supposedly avoid mere workforce training actually used the techniques of transformative learning? Wouldn’t you want to know the documentable transformative aims of the practices being recommended as the remedy?

I covered Harvard education professor Howard Gardner’s books and goals for a reimagined vision of education and its ties to Lev Vygotsky in my book Credentialed to Destroy so I was quite taken aback to learn that he had a new book come out in 2011 called Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed since it essentially tied the motto of the remedy–Classical Education–as a solution to the hyped concerns over the Common Core to Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory. It turns out to be Integral Theory’s motto too. How’s that for a convergence? In the book Gardner talked about his work on Ethics with Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi without noting that it was Csik and the General Evolution Research Group’s Achieving Excellence transformative template being piloted in certain Colorado districts (introduced in the 80s) that had been used in the Columbine district for years before that 1998 tragedy.

Let’s see what Gardner wanted, since it reminds me so much of what Professor West and that Federal Commission report also seek:

we reserve the term moral for these interactions that exist between or among human beings by virtue of their common humanity, their mutual recognition of this fact…socialization by the community–whether carried out in a harsh or benign fashion–entails broadening and leavening the sense of the good so that it becomes less self-centered, less egocentric, more cognizant of the welfare of other members of the group, and more alert to the ‘common good’. I contrast morality, a neighborly concept, with ethics, a concept appropriate to complex societies…[where] one thinks of oneself in terms of roles. The ethics of roles entails a crucial additional component…that feature is the concept of responsibility.

That quote is long enough for us to catch the drift that the moral transformative revolution Marx said was necessary for his Human Development Society once a certain level of wealth and technological development was achieved, and what John Dewey sought in the name of Democracy, is what Gardner seeks in the name of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It’s the Character Development the Federal Commission on School Safety seeks even if it’s unaware of what its admitted bibliography really ties to. What Gardner wants, just like where I have documented the phrase School Choice consistently leads us to, is for Young Americans to have “an ethical compass that governs their own behavior.” It is for curricula and classroom practices that create “a new, truly universal belief system, which could be religious or spiritual in tone, to emerge and to help individuals carry out various roles in a more ethical manner.”

When Gardner mentioned responsibility in italics he wanted students to assess “what is ‘good’ (or ‘not good’)” by applying these abstract notions to “human relations: the relations that govern how we human beings act toward one another, locally and globally.” That would be the same as Professor West’s belief that human behavior can now be governed by positive law. I guess Professor Gardner would add “and student-centered learning via prescribed standards and goals of what is to be learned as the basis for future behaviors and motivations to act.” I want to end with this recent essay https://www.lawliberty.org/2018/12/11/civility-and-the-challenge-of-ordered-liberty/ because it illustrates well how the same Progressive concepts and ends can be pitched with different terms by someone with ties to supposedly Conservative publications and think tanks.

The author, Alexandra Hudson, came on my radar yesterday after Politico reported she was leaving her job as an advisor to Betsy DeVos to work on a book with the working title of Redeeming Civility: How the death of true civility threatens America’s future.” Civility struck me as another euphemism for what Gardner called Goodness and Professor West called positive law. I had to wonder if she was leaving because the Federal Commission report was now out, especially with its emphasis on Character Development as its first remedy, so I looked up the author and found that essay. I eventually also found out she has a Masters in “comparative social policy” from the London School of Economics. Perhaps she stood there below the Fabian window thinking that if only she could be an advisor to a US Education Secretary she would in fact be in a position to advocate global policy to in fact fit the motto at the window’s top to “Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.”

Hudson is reviewing a 20-year old book by a Yale law prof called Civility because she thinks it “could just as aptly describe today. Civility adds a moral dimension to the way we interact with our fellow citizens–our ‘fellow travelers’ as Carter calls them. He makes two distinct but related moral arguments for civility. First, our shared humanity gives us all a duty to respect one another. Second, life of our republic requires us to show regard for one another through our actions, great and small.”

See what I mean about the banners varying, but how the remedies, destinations, and aims do not? If you read the whole essay, notice her citing of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation as an exemplar and remember we covered the Rockefeller Foundation-funded NCDD when we covered their advocacy of Communication for Social Change.

Small world, isn’t it? Also, notice how Ms Hudson uses the terms democracy and republic interchangeably. Let’s finish with a piece of history I learned from Professor West’s book on Re-imagining Justice because it fits so well with what Professor Gardner wants–people working together to achieve desirable goals.

Whether or not a government is republican, [Thomas] Paine urged, is entirely independent of the form it takes: a democracy, monarchy, or aristocracy all might be, or attempt to be, a republican government. Rather, a republican government is defined by its purpose, which is to serve the well-being of its citizens.

Just like Professor West said was the purpose of Positive Law and where Professor Gardner wanted new notions of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness to lead. Do you know another word for something that is guided by purpose, whether italicized or not?

A human system. All it needs apart from instilled purpose is shared sense and meaning-making. Precisely what all these visions of standards-based, student-centered education hope to instill.

 

Coups, Culture & Consciousness: Contrived to Shape Our Future Character and Behavior

It’s the holiday season so let me provide the gift of clarity on the true direction of education at any level, in both the US and globally. This time we are going back to 1994 to another book from the last post’s James Moffett called The Universal Schoolhouse: Spiritual Awakening Through Education. I went back and reread it a few weeks ago after so many of the new papers and stories in just the last month reminded me so much of his earlier vision. Remember my motto about how the intentions of the architect for his plans follow automatically if anyone chooses to implement those plans, whether that actual purpose is known or not? Moffett told us though so let’s listen. Moffett, after all, believed that Culture and Consciousness should provide the dual focus for a new sort of education. He asked:

“How may public education best affect culture and the individual consciousness it interacts with?…I argue that personal development must be central, because all solutions to public problems, no matter how collective the action, depend on mature, enlightened individuals to call for and indeed insist on these solutions. Democracy simply cannot work otherwise, and we will lose it if political leaders continue to have to pander to the selfish, childish, bigoted, and short-sighted elements of the electorate. [No wonder citizen science is needed!] So it is not only for the sake of self-fulfillment that individuals should set and assess their own educational programs but for the sake of the commonweal, which needs members who, in learning to think and do for themselves, can think about and take care of each other.

All learners would participate in community service, and social agencies would be built into the educational system as major arenas of learning. Expanding awareness must occur socially, as part of transforming the culture. Only individual maturation will make either capitalism or democracy work, because freedom in both the market and individual behavior, presupposes a consciousness and identity that go beyond mere egoism.”

I will stop there as alert readers will recognize those aims are not just those of the admitted Left in transformational plans. We have also been told repeatedly, as I have documented here at ISC, that such a balance of instilled virtue is the very essence of modern Conservatism. So if I watch this video https://lp.hillsdale.edu/barney-charter-school-initiative-townhall/ sent out less than a week ago, I am told this new vision of education is all about instilling desired Character and tools of meaning-making and sense-making in viewing the world. Moffett would approve. Likewise, when a Hillsdale alumna who writes often about education wrote in The Federalist on November 10, 2018 that “all K-12 public schools should be duty-bound to instill in the next generation of voting citizens an understanding of their own country and the habits of mind and character befitting our historically unparalleled constitutional republic,” we get a substitute of the ‘republic’ term for Moffett’s Democracy, but the desired Citizen Science and internalized transformation in Consciousness is there all the same.

When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy, I covered much of the misleading narrative that sought to obscure the real aims of the Common Core and competency frameworks and how they fit with what was laid out above as well as the “students need common skills and understandings” called for here  https://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-thinking-forward-new-ideas-new-era-public-education.pdf and the “system of learning designed to ensure that all learners are prepared with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful lifelong learners” from here https://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Moving-Toward-Mastery.pdf . Since I am providing those links, I want to focus on what all these links and references have in common, no pun intended.

The common core is not something external, but rather something internalized as a new form of consciousness just as Moffett intended. Those CRPE and iNACOL papers fit with what Moffett said would be “Subjects and methods are reorganized around individual learners forging their personal curricula in interaction with others doing the same across a whole spectrum of learning sites, situations, and technologies. This is what I am calling the universal schoolhouse.” Today, we simply call it Project-Based Learning around a student’s built and natural environment. I get so frustrated when the False Narrative around these reforms makes Fed Ed the boogeyman because Moffett then, and the ESSA in the US, and UNESCO and the 0ECD globally, all know that “Part of this radical proposal is that the functions and funds of government be redeployed so that each level of government from municipal to federal does only what it can do better than the others.”

Since Moffett was so forthcoming that “without personal development you cannot hope for the enlightened electorate that democracy requires,” let’s go back to his vision that “Governments themselves will have to undertake this redirection, because they have charge of resources, and through them people must take action. [Higher standards enforced via the Rule of Law]. The state has to sponsor personal development for the sake of the social body, because there is no public problem one can name–unwanted children, unemployment, corruption in government–that would not be dramatically improved if the people involved were more mature, capable, and moral. Selfishness, ignorance, and immaturity can spoil any political and economic system, as indeed they have with both capitalism and communism.”

In case the real intention of learning standards is not yet evident, even though the eulogies for Moffett from NCTE members when he suddenly died, laid out that his work was “always on a quest for a better society” and the “culture we should create,” let’s go back to his admission that “education must prepare for the future…Evolution seems to press forward with a will of its own that gives history a direction no government ever planned. We must become conscious of this direction and try to interpret its import for future society…The more we take evolution into our own hands, the less destructive it needs to be.”

I don’t think you or I are included in that ‘our,’ but the political potentates at any level of government certainly are. They enact learning standards mandates and then give an erroneous sales pitch on why it is necessary as we saw above. Meanwhile, we get the law, my specialty, being used for “creating social coherence while fostering personal self-realization–the trick of our era–requires an education tuned to human evolution.” That OECD ABCD Framework from the last post makes total sense when we appreciate that the impetus for learning standards from the beginning was part of a vision where “nationhood is evolving into something better, based on relegating different sorts of governance to different levels of affiliation within and beyond itself, according to where different concerns can best be handled.”

The Powers-that-Be have decided some of those concerns are best handled at the level of instilling desired Habits of Mind and a Revolution of the Heart and they haven’t exactly been forthcoming in that purpose. It’s dangerous to keep hyping Workforce Development as the intended new role of education globally, when the architects of the tools being used tell us that “Since it is within familiar human realms that we have to transform education, however, let’s designate consciousness and culture as the new framework replacing nationalism and economics but understand that transformation itself aims to make consciousness and culture cosmic.” No wonder we keep stumbling across references to Ken Wilber and his Integral Theory behind all these plans for educational, political, or social transformation.

Remember that the ABCD Framework put the focus on developing the Learner’s Attention, Belief Formation, Choice, and then Determination? Compare that to what Moffett called “Sociality for Individualization”:

“Public education will have to do what the culture has so far failed to do–develop the individual’s inner resources to match the freedom we have been granted. Freedom is not enough; one has to learn how to use it. This means practicing it all while growing up by making decisions about how to spend one’s time…developing good judgment and learning how to make decisions is precisely what a good education ought to feature for the sake of both self-fulfillment and effective employment. Public education needs to be more personal [personalized learning?] in order to connect with individual will and intelligence. Exercise of will and mind go together. The school system cannot reserve will to itself and leave mind to the learner.”

I think I will close on that quote.

Happy December everyone.

 

Coercing the Will and Priming the Pump of Purpose to Control the Neurophysiology of Learning

One of the most fascinating sources of my insights into what is actually driving education reforms is when I read something that is demonstrably untrue. One fairly recent example is this 2013 article from the American Psychological Association insisting that Positive Psychology (PP) is not grounded in Humanistic Psychology (HP) from the 60s. https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Humanistic-Positive-Psychology-Divide-AP.pdf Now I happened to know that was not true from many other sources, and although that misleading article does not mention education, we know from my research just how crucial PP is now to the mandated classroom and schoolroom culture. It’s a theory that can force “Developmentally rich contexts [that] can function as a ‘constructive web’ through which complex dynamic skills are developed and positive adaptation is fostered. Such experiences lead to the integration of neural structures that establish representational templates through which future experiences are interpreted, reappraised, and processed.”

Talk about neurophysiology! That quote was from the Turnaround for Children touted paper “Drivers of Human Development: How relationships and context drive learning and development” mentioned in the last post. It sought to “integrate the underlying processes of neural malleability and plasticity with the dynamic relational interconnectedness of children and the adults with whom they interact in their social, cultural, and physical contexts” so that schools and other contexts can “operationalize ‘relationship’ in a manner that accounts for the power of relationships in constructive ways.” Constructive for whom, we might ask? Sounds much like the Humanist Psychology research from the 60s, that the NEA underwrote, where the student’s prescribed experiences of Being could alter the nature of what they would be Becoming. “Drivers of Human Development” simply called for:

“Schools with instructional and curricular designs that support learner-centered instruction and learning environments that successfully integrate affective, cognitive, social, and emotional processes with curricular content to accelerate the developmental range of students.”

The nice thing about having been at this for so long now and in such depth is simply the ability to know where I can go to disprove a point or find a common aspiration decades ago. Language in a 2017 Australian paper called “Education for a Changing World” reminded me of how prescribed learning standards and competencies could be used to force the neurophysiological changes described above. I remembered reading the 1972 UNESCO Faure report called Learning to Be and how creepy the political use of reimagined education was in that report. At the height of the Cold War, we have authors from France, Chile, Syria, the Congo, the Soviet Union, and the USA (specifically tied to the Ford Foundation) laying out a desire to target the brains of students globally because

“what is known as formal democracy–which it would be wrong to deride, for it marked great progress–has become obsolete…the aim and content of education must be recreated, both to allow for the new features of society and the new features of democracy.”

That convergent vision of what education could do to literally change people always seems to lay at the center of all the deceit surrounding education reforms, the sought Human Development Society grounded in Uncle Karl’s work, and the true nature of his little ‘c’ communism vision. Tomorrow is Election Day in the US, but all over the world people running for office are advocating for the new vision of ‘democracy’ laid out in that Faure Report. Education reimagined was a primary tool for achieving a new vision of ‘democracy’–“conceived of as implying each man’s right to realize his own potential and to share in the building of his own future. The keystone of democracy, so conceived, is education–not only education that is accessible to all, but education whose aims and methods have been thought out afresh.”

That’s exactly what Outcomes-Based Education, Positive Psychology school climate mandates, Competency Frameworks, and Learner Exit Profiles all do when accurately understood, which is why there has been so much organized deceit around them to create a different narrative. We are not supposed to recognize the Marxian Human Development Society when it gets repackaged as Democracy. We are not supposed to recognize that all those listed, misrepresented education ‘reforms’ as well as social emotional learning mandates now go to fulfill the next Faure assumption after reconceiving Democracy:

“The third assumption is that the aim of development is the complete fulfillment of man, in all the richness of his personality, the complexity of his forms of expression and his various commitments–as individual, member of a family and of a community, citizen, and producer, inventor of techniques and creative dreamer.”

How to operationalize that aspiration in the 21st Century? How about Turnaround for Children’s work or Strive Together’s framework on necessary conditions for children to thrive? Use education reforms to take advantage of “The ability of contextual influences to encourage adaptive epigenetic signatures and to buffer factors that contribute to maladaptive epigenetic signatures provides a powerful lever to unleash children’s genetic potential.” Turns out the author of that APA misleading article cited above is an expert in something called Eudaimonic Identity Theory. In other words, he desires to use education to operationalize what the Faure Report, HP supporters, and PP advocates all say they want from education.

Basically, in order to operationalize the Human Development Society, it needed to be renamed and misdescribed to the average parent, taxpayer, and voter. But I have more than average knowledge, and I do get to recognize the significance of what I am looking at, what it ties to from the past, and what those theories originally aimed to do. Following other false narratives about a week ago pulled up a connection between Positive Psychology; what is called Self-Determination Theory that I first stumbled across tracking down the history behind school charter language; and using Neuorophysiology to create both a sense of Subjective Well-Being and a culture of horizontality. Then I noticed that the culture of horizontality fit with what public schools call Positive School Climate and what Common Core alternatives, like Ridgeview Classical charter School, laid out as its Five Pillars to have its curriculum instill in students. Too much convergence in other words to be coincidental.

If this seems like a lot of acronyms and theories, what if the mandated practices and prescribed learning experiences seek to rewire the brain for political purposes towards collectivism? What if ‘evidence-based policymaking’ seeks to utilize the so-called “universal importance of felt autonomy'” to rewire the brain so that there is only the perception of autonomy, not any actual autonomy? Is this what Soviet psychologist AN Leontiev told Urie Bronfenbrenner would be the Great Experiment on the West? The timing of that statement fits with the Faure Report and the use of Bronfenbrenner’s Theories so that “properly designed action-contexts meet or enhance peoples’ basic psychological needs and allow people to fully internalize the motivation to engage in that context: as a result, they learn, thrive, and grow to the maximal extent in that context.”

That came from a 2011 book Human Autonomy in Cross-Cultural Contexts where I took notes until I encountered Chapter 4: “Dialectical Relationships Among Human Autonomy, the Brain, and Culture” that so thoroughly fit with legal education mandates that I printed the whole chapter so I could write in the margin as it discussed targeting the neurophysiology of the areas of the brain “associated with deciding when to act, which actions to perform, and the feeling of ownership of these actions.” See what I mean about the feeling of autonomy not reflecting actual autonomy? If education is reimagined to ‘train’ the “fundamental capacity of human beings to construct a socio-symbolic reality that constitutes the essence of their living environments” and prescribe the “meanings and practices that govern their lives,” we have perceived autonomy, but not actual autonomy.

Yet it is apparently the perception of autonomy that provides the access to changing the brain physically. It is the “Open, Sesame” equivalent to gain neural access. If theories on the “role socio-cultural conditions play in the emergence and operation of human autonomy” are being imposed in the classroom or in an online digital experience to ‘train’ students “in the appropriate use of” their ‘symbolic reflective capacity’ to manipulate their goals, purposes, and emotions and then rewire the brain accordingly through prescribed experiences and ‘training’ activities, we only have the illusion of autonomy. The Faure Report’s reimagining of education in the name of Democracy has truly found its way in.

If the source of an “individual’s own regulative activity: wants, desires, and thoughts” must be targeted by education to meet civil rights law mandates of Equity, then the autonomy is once again illusory. If the Learner Exit Profiles get at the “values, life-goals, and world-views that people internalize from their socio-cultural environments during their socialization and develop in later years as an autonomous system of their own moral laws and values,” then the extent to which these moral laws and values are their own is once again illusory. All of education then seeks to interfere with and manipulate the student’s “goal-setting process.” It is being engineered for “providing the means and conditions under which they can exercise this emergent capacity [of the brain] to the fullest extent” so that the students will fit into a desired culture of horizontal collectivism.

Since no one is telling the truth except in papers we are not supposed to possess, let me close this post with the definition of horizontal collectivism italicized just like that for emphasis. It is a:

“set of norms and practices that are built around the values of cooperation, interdependence, and solidarity and that are practiced on the background of the norms of equality and respect for each member of a community regardless of his or her social status. People who endorse horizontal collectivism on a psychological level take into account and acknowledge other people’s needs and goals and attribute to them the same level of respect as one gives to oneself. They mindfully listen to other people’s opinions and perspectives and take them into account when making their decisions. This type of interpersonal relation has been labelled ‘dialogical’, ‘democratic’,  and ‘autonomy supportive’.”

This transformative vision is not limited though to education or the targeting of the psychological self at a neural, biological level. No, this required ‘horizontality’ is to be “exercised in the most important areas of a society’s functionings–parenting, education, work, and politics.”

Keep that last aim in mind as we go vote for candidates who love to use words about transformation, Democracy, and a world where All can Thrive. Bet they envision using education to create the conditions laid out in that Faure Report, whatever the level of governmental office they are running for and whatever the party.

This is a global, Bipartisan, long-standing vision to use education, political mandates, and the Rule of Law to force internal psychological change for political purposes towards collectivism.

It’s no wonder I keep stumbling across the aims of communitarianism on both the Right and Left from public policy think tanks. Can we say “Ubiquitous Undisclosed Vision”?

No longer Undisclosed.

 

Guaranteeing Surreptitious Mind Shifting Requires Binding Unknown Research and Coordination

Building on what we found in the actual language of HPL II from the last post, I want to talk about precisely how what is being referred to authoritatively as the Science of Learning & Development https://www.turnaroundusa.org/landmark-papers-science-learning-development-published-applied-developmental-science/ makes it all the way to the local classroom, fidelity to the purpose of the theory intact. First though, let’s detour to the always forthcoming Harlan Cleveland (HC) and what he wrote in 1998 about how to guarantee the desired “guarantee mind shifting” necessary to create a means of “organizing human beings to work together toward common goals.” It was laid out in an article called “Religion and Governance” available here http://www.wnrf.org/cms/govern.shtml , which makes it crystal clear that the Integral Mindset we keep encountering and its sought Arational, non-Axemaker Mind, was called the “Transmodern Way of Thinking” by HC [who has an ISC tag].

Cleveland wanted to make “human beings the dominant actors in their own future evolution,” which may sound pie-in-the-sky until we recognize just how seminal ‘learner agency’ is to what is being called The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: How emotions and social relationships drive learning in a little publicized paper released last month by the Aspen Institute. HC once headed the Aspen Institute, which makes this concern about how “citizens have been slow to change” all the more alarming. HC also wrote (remember his pursuits in the 80s are covered in CtD) that:

“many countries citizens have been slow to change their minds because their leaders fear the consequences of ‘many flowers blooming’–as Mao Tse-Tung did, even though he popularized the phrase–in gardens they wish to control. But it’s dangerous not to take full advantage of new learning technologies; the breakdown of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union bears witness.”

Sounds like regret, doesn’t it? Sadness over lost transformation opportunities of leaders not using the powers of innovation to create “more satisfying belief systems” that are “open to adaptation” and instill a desired “inner sense of what is appropriate.” On that note, one of the backers of those papers above, EducationCounsel, the policy arm of Richard Riley’s law firm that also represents school districts, has worked with the same CCSSO that created the Common Core to create Principles of Effective School Implementation Systems https://ccsso.org/resource-library/school-improvement-principles-1-10-questions-ask-yourself and Deep Dive Principle 1 insists that “schools will provide effective and engaging instruction within a supportive school culture.”

All terms with a definite meaning under HPL II, its troika, and those Turnaround papers. What is effective though is not just about listed Outcomes where “students will be academically prepared.” Students will also be “socially responsible,” which sounds remarkably like a Garden to be Controlled in the 21st century by ‘public policy’ and legal mandates. Principle #2 fleshes out that garden by referencing the “full range of knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary for students to succeed in college, career, and civic life.” Mindsets is a synonym in these documents which is sometimes replaced by Dispositions, Attitudes, or Attributes. By any of these names, it gets at the needed:

“epigenetic adaptation [grounded in experience]–the biological process through which these reciprocal individual-context relations create qualitative changes to our genetic makeup over time, both within and across generations…Genes are chemical ‘followers’, not the prime movers, in developmental processes; their expression at the biological level is determined by contextual influences.”

‘Contextual influences’ is more commonly known now as prescribed ‘learning experiences’ aimed at getting at the internalized realm of a student’s KBVAF–knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, and faith–to gain the desired new values and patterns of thinking. https://www.turnaroundusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Key-Findings-and-Implications-of-the-Science-of-Learning-Development.pdf was the source of that quote and one of its primary authors is one of the keynoters at this week’s iNACOL conference in Nashville. Here’s another quote since the “human relationship is a primary process through which biological and contextual factors mutually reinforce each other” and the “human relationship is an integrated network of enduring emotional ties, mental representations, and behaviors that connect people across time and space.”

Is it any wonder that Positive School Climates and social and emotional learning then are being legally mandated for intervention as Student Success and School Improvement using every legal vehicle available? We now are to consider both children and adults as ‘developmental systems’ where governments and other institutions seek to intervene to control the:

“continuous interaction between the individual and the context of each individual’s relationships and experiences. [Human] development is shaped by a convergence of individual, biological, contextual, cultural, and historical factors…An understanding of neural malleability and plasticity, the dynamics of resilience, and the interconnectedness of individuals with their social and physical contexts offers a transformational opportunity to influence the trajectories of children’s lives.”

While making them ‘socially responsible” to boot, huh? Remember how HC loved that garden metaphor for the potential of controlling the mind? Well, the unpublicized Aspen paper above opens with telling us that “the developmental sculpting of the brain’s networks through learning is akin to the process of growing a botanical garden.” Maybe, but none of us get to pick out either the landscape architect or gardener doing the planning, mowing, or pruning. Politicians, public policy think tanks, academics, and other TOGAS–translocal organizations of government actors, like CCSSO–are the one’s planning to utilize “the brain’s plasticity, the very adaptability that allows us to adjust to the demands of our environments…as a critical opportunity and responsibility for education.”

No wonder these aims were called Tranformational Outcomes-Based Education in the 90s with a true aim to target the “situations, problems, ideas, and social relationships… that a person engages with [so that] these experiences [will] influence patterns of brain structure and function that undergird a person’s changing skills and inclinations over time.” Then comes the garden metaphor language followed by:

“Just as a garden grows differently in different climates and with different climates and with different plants, styles of gardening, and use, a person’s brain develops differently depending on age, predispositions, priorities, experiences, and environment. When given adequate opportunity, support, and encouragement, children naturally think, feel emotions, and engage with their social and physical worlds. And these patterns [KBVAF] of thoughts, feelings, and engagement organize brain function over time and in age-specific ways, influencing growth, intelligence, and health into the future.”

If that only sounds a bit creepy as a mandate for intervention as School Improvement or Student Achievement https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/EdCounsel-AIR-ESSA-State-Plans-School-Improvement-Event-May-2018.pdf , how about an image of firing within the brain while discussing the depicted area as (2) the right and left insulae, which sense the viscera and can be thought of as feeling emotion-related ‘gut’ responses and integrating those feelings with cognitive processes; and (3) regions of the Default Mode Network that are involved with processing the psychological self, building coherent narratives, calling up personal memories, and thinking about beliefs and moral values.”

How intrusive. No wonder we get euphemisms about School Improvement, Higher Order Thinking Skills, and Student Success instead of the open statement that brain structure and functional change for transformative political purposes requires students:

“be willing and able to tackle challenging tasks…to also learn to perceive themselves as capable of succeeding, which illustrates the connection between cognitive and emotional capacities. Learning environments that are structured to be consistent with how the brain develops generally include these features: They place the learner’s emotional and social experience at the forefront. Productive learning environments attend to learners’ subjective perceptions and help students build scholarly and social identities that incorporate their new skills and knowledge. They help people to feel safe and purposeful, and to believe that their work is important, relevant, and valuable.”

Now does all the role playing and references to learning to Think like a Scientist, Historian, or Mathematician make more sense? It’s all about a means to gain the desired neural change that fuses circuitry uniting emotion with thought. The remaining needed features for neural change, also bold-faced are age-appropriate exploration and discovery that allows “learning important concepts and skills” and exploring “essential questions.” No, we do not get to decide what is ‘important’ or ‘essential’, anymore than we get to pick out the border shrubs for this metaphorical neural garden. “They support flexible and efficient thinking. [where] productive learning environments attend to the trade-off between plasticity and efficiency in brain development, strategically offering activities that encourage flexible thinking along with those that encourage mastery of necessary building-block skills and knowledge.”

Next we get “help students acquire habits of mind and character. Productive learning environments help students acquire habits of mind that facilitate acquisition of age-appropriate knowledge and skills, reasoning, and ethical reflectiveness. These habits of mind become tools for navigating the world as a learner, bringing curiosity, interest, persistence, and a deep thirst for understanding.” They left out that habits of mind are largely unconscious so these learners are being guided by the same instilled internal rudder I call the Invisible Serfs Collar. How right I was with my own metaphors.

Now we know why we keep encountering required practices for the classroom that “attend to the development of the whole child in context, and the need for aligned partnerships throughout the community that can support children’s and their families’ health and well-being.” No wonder this vision of education and the omnipresent communitarian emphasis “is a necessity for all children” and every type of school.

For these political and social plans to gain effect without effective opposition in time, education needs to be about forcing planned interdependence in the neural circuitry of each citizen’s “cognitive, emotional, and social processing.”

I can see why euphemisms, undisclosed alliances, and legal mandates are so necessary to such a vision to gain Implementation with Fidelity.

Healing the Psychological Split Within Ourselves is the Learning Transformation Goal Few Openly Express

Let’s see if I can bring together a wide variety of sources from people of varying political labels which appear to me to be headed to the same place. The first part of that explicit and startling goal came from a 2013 book Dawn of the Akashic Age: New Consciousness, Quantum Resonance, and the Future of the World from our old friend with his own ISC tag, Ervin Laszlo. We have also met his son Alexander, in connection with introducing us to Pavel Luksha and GEFF-Global Education Futures Forum, and his son Christopher, who is involved with transforming business schools globally through a UN-affliated entity called PRME and executive leadership retraining programs. If all three are interested in transforming human systems, Ervin wants to make it all humanity and his sons specialize in schools and businesses, respectively. Influential, in other words, in hugely crucial domains, whether we are aware of their work or not.

In education, Laszlo was involved with pushing intentional cultural evolution in the mid-80s with other ISC favorites with their own tags like Riane Eisler, Csik with his Excellence template, and Bela Banathy who created the vision for charter schools as a place to practice theories of reform. All these troubling quotes, in other words, have a way into the school or online learning platform near you whether that is appreciated or not. Let’s see what Ervin intends now:

“The need to integrate and heal the psychological split within ourselves and embrace a unified and harmonious political partnership is essential if we are ever to shift the balance and co-create with the systemwide sociopolitical systems in existence today. It will require psychologically integrated and spiritually balanced humanitarians to guide twenty-first century humanity in a new direction. It is such people who can offer the greatest potential for the evolutionary transformation of humanity and a peaceful and sustainable global community.”

Ervin stated that “global authority systems” can be used to “integrate an intelligent and sophisticated vision of collaboration”, which is exactly what learning standards like the Common Core or competency frameworks do when properly understood. Hence the reason for so much deceit. These plans are not supposed to be recognized nor the alignment in visions among different groups. Let’s use one more Akashic quote before we pivot to what is being put forth in the name of Conservatism: “The level of change required for the planet to shift toward a sustainable, harmonious, and more equitable future calls for us–awakening humanity–to draw on all our physical, creative, and visionary capacities. This is no sudden call; We have been forewarned. Our human systems and our worldviews have been undergoing preparation for some time for the transition to a global paradigm. A new era of social organization, communication, and understanding has been unfolding in the twenty-first century as the old systems reached their peak and began to decline.”

It’s no secret I have been tracking why self-billed Conservatives now push a vision I identify as communitarianism and Amitai Etzioni’s New Golden Rule, while also misdirecting readers on the true nature of education reforms, so when I read about a 2017 book called Patriotism is Not Enough on the Ideas that supposedly “Redefined American Conservatism,” I found the book.  I learned that Conservatism now aspires for social sciences such as education to be normative, not just descriptive. “This requires a political science of an entirely different disposition, one that is concerned first and foremost with the condition of the human soul rather than the structure of government institutions or the foundations of the law.” That quote is not an aberration as a few pages earlier, we have the quote: “Politics, if practiced as anything but an art of the soul, is bound to fail.” I also learned that Conservatism now views the “formation of character” as the “principal duty of government.”

Suddenly Classical Education’s pitches about Moral Virtues and Good, True, and Beautiful as new educational goals makes more sense if Conservatism itself wants to impose an “objective moral basis of human life. Ultimately, this cannot be done without a view to the good of the human soul, with an idea of human excellence and happiness that is not just an idiosyncratic individual exercise of the will.” Not a matter of personal choice then, but imposed and something held by a group. Boy, that sounds just like the goals from the Classical Education promoting Circe Institute in a September 5, 2018 blog post called “False Happiness and Human Flourishing: Part Two.” See if this doesn’t sound like Ervin Laszlo’s collective goals for transformation with presupplied purposes, but with a different rationale for the new kind of education.

“The great secret, as C.S. Lewis asserted many years ago, is that God is a hedonist at heart. God tells us to say no to many things, but only that we may say yes to higher and better thing! God instructs us to say no to avarice and prodigality in order that we may say yes to generosity. He commands that we say no to selfishness and self-centeredness so that we may say yes to love and community. If we make higher things–God’s things–our goal, our lives will flourish and they will be filled with moments of unexpected ecstasy and joy…”

Now let’s pivot to one of the withdrawn books I alluded to in the last post, which is interesting as the book The Next Enlightenment: Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution was published in 2003. It is definitely New Agey in its approach and is by the author of the Esalen book–The Upstart Spring.It used a member of the GEFF Board, Howard Rheingold, as a back cover blurb advocating for the book. Relevant in other words to where global education, especially in the US, is really going. That became even more clear since the already tagged Robert Kegan and his desires for new forms of consciousness were laid out in the book. For anyone who has not read Credentialed to Destroy (shame on you!), it is Robert Kegan’s work that PISA assesses for as Key Competences and higher ed is also being reimagined around his Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies work.

Omnipresent in other words as a goal of both K-12 and higher ed reforms, which makes this quote all the more relevant as The Next Enlightenment urged us to “master new cognitive skills. The most important of these skills is what he [Kegan] calls the ability to ‘objectify’–to recognize as socially constructed and contingent rather than as God-given and eternal fundamental concepts such as selfhood, nationality, or religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting them, only seeing them as matters about which some sort of decision can be made. Without developing such an ability we remain trapped in our social structures.”

Those pesky existing social structures then need new forms of consciousness and new values, which is exactly what everyone I have quoted seems to be in agreement on. The sought change may be marketed as a “global ‘skill revolution’ that often takes the form of political action [as with last week’s G20 Declaration from Argentina Betsy DeVos committed the US to] but is fundamentally psychological.” Learning standards and competency frameworks in K-12 are examples of tools for “cognitive development in individuals [which] leads inevitably to the larger subject of cognitive evolution in societies and the human species.” It’s just that some writers like Laszlo or Anderson (quoted just now) admit that is what education reforms are all about and others do not. As Anderson said, if “enlightenment is cognitive development, and the various approaches to that development, whether we call them spirituality or psychology [or political science, Conservatism, or Classical Ed], are just different ways of groping the same elephant.”

That elephant is the human mind and personality and the big bullseye all these plans have placed on it to be purposefully transformed are just not well enough understood. Let’s use a different Robert Kegan quote from The Next Enlightenment that may be why the public library put it in the Discard bin. After all, it was Kegan the Hewlett Foundation hired to make sure the Common Core assessments would be assessing what it pushes as Deep Learning.  Anderson rightfully called Kegan “another of the big time moral development researchers” without pointing out that his mentor was Lawrence Kohlberg whose Moral Development Theory became the basis for the reimagined Hong Kong compulsory citizenship push Communist China imposed. Everyone then interested in individual or collective transformation wants to get at the level of values and beliefs. Quoting:

“the key process in epistemological change is what he [Kegan] calls ‘objectification.’ That means as you grow, you periodically turn around and look at parts of your worldview–values, beliefs, ideas, ways of doing things–that you experienced uncritically as subject, part of yourself and the way things simply are, and begin to experience them in a new way, as objects–things whose origin you might wonder about and whose ultimate truth you might question…In any case, you are quite a quite different kind of person from the individual in a premodern, traditional society who did not have to make such decisions at all because he or she never began to see the society’s beliefs as objects that could be thought about and questioned.”

That thinking about and questioning is precisely what every one of these educational paradigms seeks to do. Everybody wants a new kind of consciousness and political, social, and economic transformation, but some of the shifts are gift wrapped for sales pitch purposes as about God, Conservatism, or Classical Ed. They all want to get at Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy–Right Thinking and Right Actions. What Ervin Laszlo called “the wise way to think and be” and is willing to use social media to create collective pressure to force adherence so that we are “Democratizing the way we do things, how we relate to others, but also in the very way our minds work–in consciousness itself…a model based in shared interest as opposed to self-interest” fits with that Circe quote above to create Human Flourishing.

Another Circe quote from September 6 in “Language as Belief and Practice” begins with this statement: “Right belief and right action are necessary aspects of growing in virtue. Intellect and knowledge alone cannot save. If knowledge does not reach to the level of heart and action, we are left with smart people who are intelligent in their sinning and their avoidance of consequences.” Sounds like Whole Child and ‘objectifying’ the subjective, internalized realm to me. Let’s close then with another quote from Ervin Laszlo who makes no bones about the integration that will heal this psychological split between heart, mind, and will and the reasons why:

“the tipping point can be encouraged by a change in people’s perceptions…No real change can be achieved without a corresponding change in consciousness.”

Let’s pull these common aims for transformative education of consciousness into the realm of each of our conscious attention.

 

 

 

 

Surreptitiously Subjugating Our Locus of Control: Whose Choice?

Tracking what is really going on in education through what is being legally mandated means I frequently know what is crucial long before I fully grasp why the shift in practices is so important. It lets me know through the decades and all over the world, that whatever the current name and given rationale, certain aspects of people’s Identity formation, the basis for their decision making as they live their lives, and what motivates them to act and guides their perceptions are being systematically targeted. When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I had grasped that Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (Tranzi OBE) and constructivism targeting how the world and reality is viewed were being pushed all over the English-speaking world in what appeared to be a coordinated effort to drive now drive human evolution, along with its institutions, via planned changes to culture rather than genes.

Genes just take too long for transformation plans apparently and if I have learned anything in just this year’s posts alone, we have many people in a hurry to redesign how the world works. Just last week was “Forty Years of Wicked Problem Solving” that will really make use of the new HOTS mandate in the US federal ed law that was designed to be virtually impossible to Opt Out of. Why must everyone be subjugated to such a prescription of what concepts they use to analyze wicked problems that have no fixed answer or have never been taught to the student? I think Brian Head supplied that answer in the above paper when he admitted that “the nature and significance of the policy problem is shaped through debates on ‘framing’. [No need for debate if the frames are mandated learnt predispositions set out in learning standards]. This is crucial for how the debates about problems, contexts and responses are represented…framing [is] a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading and acting.”

So nice of governments now to dictate that, isn’t it? All in the name of High Standards and Success for All we get our very subjectivity itself mandated and then put under regular surveillance via poorly understood assessments for compliance. Apparently if someone doesn’t get caught as a K-12 student there’s always higher ed and management leadership retreats targeting that very same locus of control. Everybody suddenly wants to get at and manipulate our “perceptions, values and interests” that control “how issues are scoped” and how we will likely interpret our daily experiences. Over and over again we come across a belief that in the 21st century we must all ultimately have “shared understanding and shared meaning about the problem and possible solutions.”

What better way to do that than to use learning standards and competency framework to:

“develop this psychological capacity…to not only model and manage its external environment, but also to model and manage its internal adaptive processes. It can develop mental models of the pre-existing physical, emotional, and mental adaptive processes that determine how it behaves and acts. The models will enable it to understand consciously how its pre-existing adaptive processes operate, what useful effects they have, how they might be modified, and what the consequences might be. Through self-knowledge they will develop the capacity to gain control over their internal adaptive processes. Increasingly, this will enable them to manage their physical actions, emotional and motivational states, and their beliefs and other mental processes in whatever ways are necessary”

to fit with whatever learning experiences a school mandates and whatever objectives and outcomes it now imposes. That passage really struck me because the Principals and School Supers most aggressive in pushing this vision tend to be the ones being promoted now to ever more lucrative job opportunities. Is this what any parent imagines as higher student achievement? Yet every legal instrument from statutes, to charters, to what HOTS assesses, actually gets at manipulating, and then tracking via data whether the desired adaptions are occurring to these internal adaptive processes. If the same new prescribed “norms, moral beliefs, and other rules of behaviour” can become instilled across a large group as “learnt predispositions” governments will have successfully created a common internal manager guiding future behaviour with nary a heads up, much less consent.

If that seems to be overly ambitious, let me quote that “a distributed internal manager is formed of a set of hard-wired predispositions that are reproduced in each of the members of a group of organisms…[Student-centered learning sounds so much better,doesn’t it?] A distributed internal manager clearly has the potential to organize a group cooperatively…so that they treat others in the group as self… or by hardwiring specific cooperative behaviours in individuals.” In other words, all these plans we keep encountering from UN Sustainable Development Goals to supposedly Balanced Communitarian visions in the name of Founding Principles, Learning Liberty, or a New Golden Rule can all be put into effect through the right type of prescribed learning experiences.

In this vision “each individual is controlled by its particular set of predispositions”, which he or she may not even know were instilled intentionally from preschool through higher ed. The group as a whole can only be controlled and coordinated if a “common set of predispositions is reproduced across the group.” How does the Common Core ever actually go away if it is about hardwiring learnt predispositions? If we wonder why, we have a confession that “if we had different emotional goals and motivations, our technology would be different, as would our systems of government and other social arrangements.”

Sounds like learning standards and competency frameworks then prescribed for the vast majority of students would be a highly effective way to invisibly alter ‘civil society’, just as so many of my links have laid out is the current aim. Just have education or that weekend seminar or management retreat target the “internal adaptive goals” of students, an executive team, or all too often, the elected members of your local school board or private school trustees go through learning experiences that are actually designed to alter their ‘psychological software’, even if the supplied promotional materials and consent forms deny that. It’s the practices that matter and when those practices and participatory experiences whether in a school, woods, or luxury hotel are designed to force someone to “drop their emotional attachments to any ideas, attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, religious systems and moral principles,” we have a targeting of this psychological capacity to change internal adaptive processes.

This ‘distributed internal management’ is an excellent way to prescribe planned and coerced transformations starting at the level of the individual mind and personality without their being the telltale levers of control of a gulag or overt censorship. We should all be alarmed to know such plans exist and that they fit how learning standards work so well. “The hold of the manager over the individual would be greatly strengthened if the individual’s mental modelling of the world led him to believe that the codes and norms were in his best interests” is not a phrase any parent wants to read as the school year starts, but it is essential to grasp how these plans actually work. This is not just a matter of the UN and admitted progressives wanting to use education to fulfill John Dewey’s desire to instill the habits and dispositions essential for his vision of democracy.

I have been looking at Classical Education for a while and the deceitful narratives designed to support it. It too, at its core, seems to want to alter the fact that “particularly in the last two hundred years, a significant proportion of individuals in more complex human societies has developed a strong capacity to use internal linear modelling to critically evaluate their own beliefs.” Apparently that will not do, because our “behaviour is now guided largely by internal reward systems that are mostly self-centred, except for the legacy of the kin selection and reciprocal altruism mechanisms.” Those don’t reconcile us to the desired communitarian ethos prescribed for the 21st century so we get the Good, True, and Beautiful instilled for us and new definitions of Freedom and Liberty. It’s for our own good you see. Needed to solve those wicked problems as a matter of public policy.

Learning standards, properly understood, have “the potential to change how each of us sees ourself, what we do with our life, and the meaning and purpose we see in our individual existence.” Too important to be a matter of personal choice, these have become a matter of prescribed public policy imposed surreptitiously using the law to force compliance with a vision that isn’t our own in most cases.

Shouldn’t we all be aware? If “our thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotional states, as well as the methods we use to influence them, must become objects of consciousness” so that we can be forced to develop new “psychological software”, don’t we get to at least see what is to be altered and why?

Isn’t actual knowledge, instead of prescribed conceptual ‘frames’, the only way to avoid what has been quietly put in place in a most coordinated manner? Especially with the commencement of the new school year?

Parents may well be rejoicing in achievement that can quite frankly be more accurately seen as brainwashing when properly understood.

What happens to the student or adult who is forced into adopting “new psychological software” despite their reluctance to change?

Somehow it seems likely to be more impactful than a notation “doesn’t have a Growth Mindset”?

 

 

Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards”  https://globalcxi.org/ where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent https://spectator.org/goodbye-privacy-how-new-edtech-is-turning-students-into-lab-rats/ hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-potential-of-ai-for-lifelong-learning-the-need-for-a-critical-perspective/ because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.

 

Missing That Invite for More Strenuous Forms of Soulcraft to Erect the Formative Project?

Me too, but as usual following up on coordinated deceitful narratives like I laid out in the previous post led to pay dirt. So today let’s try to avoid using the M word at all and focus on the related upfront transformational plans laid out once we know where to look. It even pops up in that long-winded Sermon of Love by Bishop Michael Curry at the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry wedding if we are familiar with Curry’s Beloved Community work that the Episcopal Church launched in May 2017. The so-called Formative Project is a belief that governments at every level (not just the federal that the False Narrative always wants to make the Bogeyman) have an obligation NOT to be “neutral towards the values and ends that its citizens espouse.” If your dictionary isn’t handy think of ‘espouse’ as a fancier term for what ‘motivates’ people to act and then remember that this aim is precisely what ‘learning standards’ like the Common Core or any competency frameworks also want to target for control.

Before I quote further from a seminal 1996 book by Harvard law prof and communitarian Michael Sandel called Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, I want to pull this broader discussion of why K-12 education reforms matter to broader plans to a MYWays document that came out this week. https://s3.amazonaws.com/nglc/resource-files/MyWays_06CompetencyList.pdf sets out “Habits of Success–for learning, work, and well-being”; “Creative Know How–for a novel, complex world”; “Content knowledge–for the life students will lead”; and “Wayfinding Abilities–for destinations unknown” that get at what a student has internalized as beliefs, concepts, and values that motivate behavior and guide perception.

That internalized mindset is what learning standards always target and the euphemisms used to obscure this common aim vary from “self-discipline” per the Fordham Institute this week and also Grit advocate Angela Duckworth (who also heads up a Character lab). The OECD calls it ‘self-regulation’ and says it is the central purpose of education globally in the 21st century.  Sandel, Hillsdale College, and the Heritage Foundation all seem to prefer the term ‘self-government’. However these entities bill themselves on the political spectrum, these euphemisms function the same as what Sandel terms as a “republican conception of freedom” and liberty, which “requires a formative politics, a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character self-government requires.”

That vision of changing the person, which I guess we could euphemise as “student-centered learning” like Jeb Bush and the Aspen Institute like to do, needs a new kind of education. K-12 students get the MyWays Competencies or some kind of formative pillars or Portrait of a Graduate laying out the person they are to become. Adults get something like the Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church Seeing the Face of God in Each Other https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf to lay out “a theology of inclusion and justice for our work in this time and place in our history” or the http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf which lays the Curry Agenda beyond just the Episcopal Church that led him to a Candlelight Vigil at the White House the week after the wedding.

Everybody seems to want to use institutions like churches, the media, and schools to dictate what we are all to believe in the future and what we are to act to bring about in a collective, non-individualistic manner. Let’s get back to those plans in Sandel’s book (that I really did find following up on something odd the Hoover Institution wrote) as he wants us to move away from the procedural republic we have been for the last 50 or so years according to him (that would be 70 years now in 2018) and use our social institutions to instill in students and adults the “capacity to deliberate well about the common good.” In order to be able to engage in the (required for our own good so that we are no longer ‘discontent’) roles of “sharing in self-rule…then citizens must possess certain excellences–of character, judgment, and concern for the whole.” Also remember that since we live in the world of K-12 that mandates Success for All and churches now want Inclusion for All, both visions effectively mean:

“…given the demands of republican citizenship [we could substitute Beloved Community, depending on our audience, with no real loss of meaning], the more expansive the bounds of membership, the more demanding the task of cultivating virtue. In Aristotle’s polis, the formative task was to cultivate virtue among a small group of people who shared a common life and a natural bent for citizenship. When republican thought turns democratic, however, and when the natural bent of persons to be citizens can no longer be assumed, the formative project becomes more daunting. The task of forging a common citizenship among a vast and disparate people invites more strenuous forms of soulcraft.”

Not usually what a parent has in mind when they hear the euphemism “learning experiences”, but at least we know now why social and emotional learning is so ubiquitous and embedded in daily activities. Sandel, by the way, called the idea that “liberty can be detached from the exercise of self-government and conceived instead as the capacity of persons to choose their own ends…the voluntarist conception of freedom, [which]…no longer needs soulcraft, except in a limited domain.” No wonder we get euphemisms like parental or school choice or the classical theory of education so that political power anywhere in the 21st century is “accorded a stake in the character of its citizens”, whatever their wishes. We should be wary of the term ‘civil society’  too when we read Sandel concluding with:

“different forms of political association would govern different spheres of life and engage different aspects of our identities. Only a regime that disperses sovereignty both upward and downward can combine the power required to rival global market forces with the differentiation required of a public life that hopes to inspire the reflective allegiance of its citizens.”

Is it treasonous to say “No Thanks”? That a formative project of governments enabled through the human mind and deceitfully euphemised about by philanthropies and the think tanks, professors, media outlets, and others they pay is no way to successfully run the 21st century, no matter how much data is now available?

How many people now reflexively use the term “self-government” to mean I am my own person and should be able to select my own ends in life? In the last post, we noted that what now turn out to be some of the same actors pushing this coercive vision of self-government were not being accurate in describing King’s Agenda, at least by the end of his life. If you look at the Beloved Community materials through the links provided, have any Familiarity with the Marxist Humanist agenda from earlier posts, and look at what Sandel wants to solve Democracy’s Discontent, they are all headed to the same place. They also all need a new vision for education. As Sandel notes:

“To assimilate the civil rights movement to the liberalism of the procedural republic is to miss its most important lessons for our time. More than a means to equal rights, the movement itself was a movement of empowerment, an instance of the civic strand of freedom. The laws that desegregated public facilities and secured voting rights for blacks served freedom in the voluntarist sense–the freedom to choose and pursue one’s purposes and ends. But the struggle to win these rights displayed a higher, republican freedom–the freedom that consists in acting collectively to shape the public world.”

We, and especially our children caught up in these related education reforms, are involved with a Formative (re)Project hiding behind deceit and euphonious euphemisms like liberty, freedom, and high standards for all. At their core though, these are all psychological changes being sought in each of us “aimed at the moral and civic ‘transformation of a whole people’. Our minds and personalities targeted for political purposes to transform the neural levels that “tell the tales that order our lives.”

The only way out is to understand it and I seriously doubt it was any accident that the MyWays document was put out the week of so many Memorial Day vacations when few but the designated change makers would ever read it.

Levers and Logic Models: A Framework to Guide Research and Design of High-Quality Competency-Based Education Systems

came out the same day. Remember Logic Models turn out to be a euphemism used for Evidence-Based Policymaking that turned out to be another euphemism for scientific techniques employed in the name of that word we were not going to use today.

Methinks someone views summertime as a wonderful time to get significant changes in place without anyone paying alarming attention. If it’s pretty where you are, just read these summer posts on a rainy day.

Some times people tell me they are best read with a stiff drink anyway.